It’s time to care for the caregiver

Multiple sclerosis affects the entire family. Spouses, mothers, fathers and children.

As I reflect on family this month as many of us celebrate Family Day and Valentine’s Day, I think about the thousands of caregivers supporting loved ones living with MS each and every day.

I recently heard the struggle of one family through social media, of the immense stress and financial strain they endured when one parent assume the role of full-time caregiver while also working full-time. The impact on the couple’s children, who became caregivers themselves, was distressing.

Their story is unfortunately not a unique story. Through our Listening to People Affected by MS initiative, we learned that three out of four caregivers do not have the support they need and that people living with MS worry most about the impact their disease will have on the family.

Thank you for sharing your stories through social media. Please continue to share them on our Facebook page and on Twitter. Your experiences will help my team and I drive change.

In January, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), announced the release of the Employer Panel for Caregivers’ report called When Work and Caregiving Collide – How Employers Can Support their Employees Who Are Caregivers. I would encourage you to read the report and share it with employers across the country.

This report is a great start to raising awareness of caregivers’ experiences in the workplace. Many caregivers of people living with MS are still working, like Teresa Fortin whose husband Doug lives with secondary progressive MS. “She takes time off work to drive me to medical appointments and to be there for my many rounds of treatment. She helps care for me, and I want the government to recognize the vital role she plays in our family…I want better care for my caregiver,” Doug says.

While we are pleased to see this recent announcement addressing the needs of caregivers in the workplace, we need the federal government to go further. We need a national caregiver action plan to reduce caregiver burden, improve access to resources, recognize caregivers’ vital roles, and create flexible workplace environments and support systems.

We look forward to the federal government addressing these needs and ensuring Canada cares for the caregiver.

Categories Advocacy

National vice-president, government relations: passionate about grassroots work to ensure our governments are responsive to the needs of Canadians living with MS.

  1. Michael Cullen says:

    Finally there is an effort being made to have the Federal Government realize what caregivers go through on a daily bases. I retired approximately 3 years ago to take care of my wife. I was traveling all of Atlantic Canada, away a lot on average 3nights a week. When attempted to receive financial assistance from the Federal Government, to make a long story short it did not happen. Question after questions which is absolutely should be asked. Very frustrating for me. All of the people I dealt with where helpful. But I could see that the help for me was not there. I gave up and moved on.
    Just recently the Federal Government has cut Nova Scotia Medical Fund transfer by several million $. N S senior population per population is higher in N S than anywhere else in Canada. So in reality I feel personally that your effort is admirable but the present Government is lacking in their support of Social assistance.

    • Suzanne Branch says:

      I live in the U S. I have M S. We flew to Los Angeles, CA, an international airport. When we arrived there was no accessible bathrooms . My husband had to take me into the ladies room. There are only 2 terminals which have family bathrooms. My husband, my caregiver, should not have to accompany me there. There are no plans for LAX to add these private toilets.

    • Neil Pierce says:

      Dear Michael,
      Thank you for your comments on the need for change. This is an issue that affects so many Canadians as you know so well from your own personal experience. We are working with many health charities to address the gaps in caregiver supports and remain hopeful that we can influence improvements going forward.

  2. Lorna Scott says:

    Having flexiblity in my workplace was a life saver when I was a caregiver for my husband as he battled cancer. There are many good initiatives happening and the voice of caregivers is starting to be notice. We must keep speaking up! Lorna M Scott, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Amazon best selling author of Walking the Journey Together … Alone

  3. Terrica Wisner says:

    I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 52 years old 4 years ago. The Bafiertam did very little to help me. The medical team did even less. My decline was rapid and devastating. It was muscle weakness at first, then my hands and tremors. Last year, a family friend told us about Natural Herbs Centre and their successful MS Ayurveda TREATMENT, we visited their website natural herbs centre. com and ordered their Multiple Sclerosis Ayurveda protocol, i am happy to report the treatment effectively treated and reversed my Multiple Sclerosis, most of my symptoms stopped, I’m able to walk and my writing is becoming great, sleep well and exercise regularly. I’m  active now, I can personally vouch for  these remedy but you would probably need to decide what works best for you🧡.

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